There’s a certain vibe on campus. Maybe it’s the effortless smiles and warm greetings, the casual but purposeful gaits that convey, “I have a minute for you.” Here, people know more than your name. They’ve invested the time to learn what makes you tick. With each interaction, you can almost hear the words of Roberto Goizueta ripple across the school: “We must all, by deed and example, create the community we want.”
A SMALL AND SUPPORTIVE COHORT IN A MAJOR METROPOLIS
Example is paramount at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Steeped in southern hospitality, the MBA program is best known for accessible faculty and staff who exemplify servant leadership. According to Brian Mitchell, associate dean of the full-time MBA programs, the tone they set has profound implications for students. “We are teaching students what we want them to model as business leaders,” he explains in a 2016 interview with Voice of Goizueta. “My dad told me a long time ago that “every business is a people business”, and I still believe that today.”
This “people” model works to perfection at Goizueta, the only “small” Top 20 MBA program in a major metro. At Goizueta, students enjoy the best of both worlds: A close-knit student community and individual attention from faculty. In fact, the student-to-professor ratio is just 6-to-1. Such personal support was important to a career changer like Kingsley Chikata, a first-year who holds a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration. “I am fairly certain that I will need to lean on my professors and classmates for support in more traditional areas of business. I was able to have frank conversations with current students and alumni who were able to speak to the collaborative nature of the program in detail as well as affirm that I would have all the support that I would need to be successful.”
Along with relationship-building, Goizueta’s small class sizes also foster greater teamwork, adds D. Wright Clarke, a first year who enjoyed a similar classroom dynamic as a Wake Forest undergrad. “The primary benefit that I’ve observed is in the development of team cohesion. Most business schools understand that connecting people in smaller units can support team bonding and a sense of place. For me, Emory’s smaller class size capitalizes on this concept at a macro-level; it allows one to fit oneself within an entire class rather than a subset.”
FIRST YEAR FINDS A SHARK TOOTH AS BIG AS A FISH OFF WHILE SCUBA DIVING
Clarke and Chikata are among the members of one of Goizueta’s best classes to date. The class certainly has the administration buzzing. “This class personifies the phrase, “high-achieving Millennials” in many ways,” Mitchell tells Poets&Quants. “They are entrepreneurial, well-traveled and technically savvy.”
You’ll find quite a mix of students in the Class of 2018. Allyson Boudreaux, a marathoner who worked at American Express, calls herself as “a challenge-seeker, community cultivator, semi-professional bridesmaid, off-tune karaoke singer.” Wow! Clarke is “an aspiring renaissance man with far more interests than time.” Darias Damond Holloway, a West Point grad and active duty Special Forces officer, strikes a balance between being both “ambitious” and a “self-motivated, family-oriented man of integrity and Christian values.” Wondering who might emerge as the spiritual leader of the class? Look out for Rene Meza, who remains “an eternal optimist who tends to see the best in everyone and everything.”
No doubt, this call had plenty of interesting stories to swap at orientation. Katie Hoppenjans, an aspiring brand manager who was a former editor at Bridal Guide magazine, also wrote horoscopes when she worked for a teen magazine. Robertson Greenbacker, a marine and scuba diver, “found a fist-sized fossilized tooth of a Megalodon – a 70-foot-long prehistoric shark – off the coast of North Carolina.” And Holloway has visited more foreign countries (32) than American states. The class also brings a flair for the theatrical, with Clarke being a former bassist in a high school rock band and Chikata playing Santa Claus for elementary school students.
What do members of the 2018 Class have in common? Mainly, they’ve assumed heavy responsibilities early in their careers. Meza grabbed the attention of his firm’s c-suite and board by executing their biggest contract, which included traveling across North America to open new branches. “It was like being the CEO of my own mini-business,” he says. At AARP, Chikata partnered with senior management to connect with and support caregivers, a younger and more multicultural demographic that serves AARP members. Kevin Loong was selected to join Ernst & Young’s People Advisory Board, where he worked alongside senior management in areas like “restructuring the firm’s counseling groups and incentivizing audit teams.” No less impressive, Ashley Johnson spearheaded several initiatives targeting underserved populations as a national communications and engagement manager at Teach For America.
GMATS RISE FIVE POINTS OVER THE 2017 CLASS
Looking at the class stats, the arrow is definitely pointing up in some respects. Enrollment rose from 166 to 181 students, despite the program receiving 28 fewer applications in 2015-2016. Average GMAT scores also perked up, climbing from 678 to 683. On the downside, however, the percentage of women plummeted from 34% to 24% as schools compete feverishly to attract this population to campus. The number of international students also slipped from 35% to 32%, with the class boasting students from 16 countries (including two Fullbright Scholars). It also features 16 U.S. military veterans, along with six students pursuing a joint JD-MBA degree.
Academically, the class represents a good mix of undergraduate disciplines. Business leads the way, comprising 37% of the class. They are followed by engineering and computer science (19%), humanities (13%), economics (13%), social sciences (10%), and math and science (7%). In other words, business-related majors account for half of the class, with both hard sciences and liberal arts each taking up another quarter. After graduation, 23% of the 2018 Class worked in finance (23%), with consumer marketing and manufacturing (18%) and consulting (13%) professionals taking up other large blocs of the class.
The 2018 Class is also the fruit of the school’s long-term strategy. “This incoming class is special because it is the manifestation of a growth strategy that was implemented five years ago,” Mitchell notes. “It is the largest incoming class that we have had in almost a decade, and also the strongest in terms of GMAT/GPA since then. So we are very excited about welcoming them as the latest members of the Goizueta community.”
Go to next page to see 13 in-depth profiles of Class of 2018 members.